It is a useful concept as it helps us get a better handle on future uncertainties.
The AgileBCP risk lens can (and should) be applied BEFORE a disruption event – andAFTER a disruption event.
Nature’s warning color – red – is used to stimulate discussion. A ‘red flag’ calls for serious and immediate considerations. Orange – important but probably not immediate, Yellow – cautionary and needing to be watched closely, Green – sound but still keep an eye on it.
Risk puts on notice the need for conversations about what ought to be done – and what does not need to be done. Indeed the only reason for risk assessment is in order to inform action – or inaction. Risk assessment has no inherent merit. It ought not to be academic. Risk exists, as a concept, in order to inform decisions.
Once a decision is made, any implementation plan(s) should be kept as long as necessary but as short as possible. Specifying what needs to be done and what is needed to do it. Implementation plans are then supported by standard management practices of monitoring the achievement of the required outcomes by ensuring the plans are on track, on budget, and on time.
Beyond the jargon of “petri dish and pivot” there are opportunities in ‘the risk’.
Wherever we start from, I think it is useful to – stealing a Steve Covey line of “end in mind” – be clear about our preferred Outcomes and necessary and sufficient Outputs.
The models and frameworks sketched out below use a “business continuity” context (reflecting some capability development work I am currently doing with a client) – but the thinking can be usefully applied across a range of contexts.
In my search for and development of useful heuristics I was looking for models that started with social needs (outcomes). I fondly redicovered a piece we used “back in the day” (developed by the likes of Kasperson and Kates). I say fondly because it stuck in my mind because of a bemusing typo. It was in the title – “casual” approach – rather than “causal” approach – just one misplaced letter, yet many misplaced meanings.
Nevertheless, a terrfic root cause – and starting point – exploration as it goes back to what we actually need! And at every step of our social and historic path you can readily see the points of difference – between societies, ideologies and technologies.
Heuristics are useful tools – but only that. They can blind you and narrow your perspectives as much as they can open and explore. Use them well (especially iteratively and rigorously with other stakehiolders) and you will see a range of opotions – from walled gardens to open vistas.
The further you either work back to “needs”, or start from “reimagined needs”, the better.
Hopefully, the fruits of this coming era of frugalis may not all be bitter.
How often have you heard someone say that in a conversation?
It may not be “rocket science” (that is to say “requiring the application of expertise”) to them, but it is just rude to be dismissive. It alienates and it isolates. It erodes respect.
Things which are “not rocket science” are often just not very interesting – or they just don’t add enough immediate business value. Risk and the management of risk is one such a thing … and in some specialist applications such as business continuity, can be outright dry.
Therefore it is not uncommon for risk practitioners to peddle their message by “scaring your pants off”. This is done by the use of metaphor and imagery – especially worst case scenarios (horror stories). My own example is shown in the 58 second video above (Twitter and Instagram set limits of under a minute – and we are urged to respect the new concentration span of thirty seconds).
My elevator pitch is more likely to be a quiet chat about how vulnerability to extreme events – and their impacts – can be best managed by good decision making. Urge people to consider building a sound plan – not to just rely on what is in your head.
As a footnote on business continuity planning not adding enough immediate business value it is worth thinking about how a business continuity planning review could (albeit ruthlessly) support making sure the allocation of resources across the organisation is fit for purpose.
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